Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Power of the Onion

During the Holocaust, it was widely believed that onions prevented all types of disease and actually cured others. I found this fact interesting when reviewing my Father's tapes as well as Joyce Wagner's book, "A Promise Kept." Near the end of the Holocaust when my father was hidden by the "Polish Princess" (see previous posts) besides his regular fare she asked him if there was anything special he would like to eat. He requested onions. I asked my father why onions. He responded that because he was not getting any sunlight in the barn, onions were needed to keep him healthy. I scoffed at the idea, and filed this story in the back of my mind.
Recently, I reread Joyce Wagner's book and found a similar reference. Joyce Wagner tells of her sister, Hilda, and the time when she became too ill to stand for work call. Such a situation meant death at Auschwitz. Hilda was faced with only two alternatives, immediate selection to the gas chambers or a stay in the "Hospital". The hospital had no medicine. Hilda was taken to Auschwitz's "Hospital." Somehow, Hilda was able to send her sister a note. The note read that she wanted an onion. Joyce Wagner used all her cunning and resources to trade for an onion. Unfortunately, by the time Hilda received the onion, it was too late. She was too weak to even eat the onion. When Joyce Wagner finally was able to get to the "Hospital" to search for her sister all that remained by her sister's bed was the onion on the shelf.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Comments to this Blog

I believe in free speech and the rights of those that disagree with my position. Thus, as of yet, I have never deleted a comment sent to this blog. Unfortunately a few readers have taken advantage of my position. They find it brave to portray the three million Polish Jews killed during the War as deserving of such a fate. I truly feel sorry for such people. They are destined to be manipulated by future dictators to do things that they will regret when they meet our Maker.
One such writer to this blog feels that by bad mouthing my Father, may he rest in peace, he has performed a service to the World. Such people are immediately recognized for what they are, demagogues. My Father survived the Holocaust only by the grace of G-d. His family never harmed anyone and lived a truly holy life on this Planet. My Grandfather spent all of his time studying holy books and only behaving as G-d has told him to in the Bible.
To try to label my father as some sort of evil person is beyond me. The blogger admits that he bases his position only on a picture that I posted. That type of thinking borders on the ridiculous. People take pictures for a variety of reasons, For example one might think that holding a gun is "funny", "interesting", "macho", "controversial", etc.... That doesn't make them evil. By not recognizing this, the one who tries to attribute motive to such a picture is in blatant disregard for the truth. This type of thought process is one of the reasons that Hitler was able to perpetrate the ultimate evil, the Holocaust.
The writers of these terrible comments fail to acknowledge that the Soviets liberated Poland from the Nazis. Whether the writers preferred Nazi oppression as opposed to Soviet oppression is telling. The Soviets did not build gas chambers the Nazis built gas chambers. It was the Nazis that killed millions of Poles. I agree that the Soviets did many many bad things to the Poles. But as bad as the Soviets were, the Soviet's evil pales in comparison to the Nazis. Yes evil is bad, period. It should never be tolerated. But, the World must acknowledge that the Soviets, by their own blood, stopped the greatest evil ever known to mankind.
Getting back to the subject at hand, if my father served as a Police officer for one year in the town of Radziejow, that does not make him a Soviet pawn. Rather, he was drafted into this service and barely escaped when his life was jeopardized by those that opposed the Soviets.
The bottom line is that I hope that those that hate me or my father for trying to reclaim his property would try and think about what they are writing to this blog site from a rational point of view instead of pure hatred!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Holocaust Rememberance Day and the Day the Radziejow Ghetto was Liquidated.

At dawn on an April Spring day, the shouts of the Nazis JUDEN RAUS!!! was heard throughout the one street Jewish Ghetto in Radziejow. Jews were stunned. Women, children, old people and infants were physically thrown out of their houses. The Nazis rounded up all the Jews living in the Ghetto and forced them together in Market Square. From Market Square they were taken to the Church. The Jews were locked within the church without food and water. They spent the night at the Church. The next day they were sent to the Chelmo Extermination Camp. There is a controversy whether they were sent to Chelmo in Gas Vans or whether they were taken by trucks to Chelmo, stripped of their clothes and belongings and then loaded into Gas Vans to be killed by carbon monoxide poisoning. An entire community was wiped out. The only survivors were those that either fled the Ghetto at the time of the roundup or those that were not present on this most tragic day. My Father was at a work camp at the time of the liquidation of the Ghetto. His friends that he grew up with, were for the most part, not as fortunate.
Today we mark the murder of Jews by the hand of the Nazis. We call it Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Jewish Ghetto During World War II

The information concerning the life in the Ghetto was gleaned from Father and Yetka Wagner, from her book, A Promise Kept. This book details her personal story concerning Radziejow and the Holocaust.
The Nazis decided that all the Jews living in Radziejow had to move to one street. The rule was four families per dwelling. The dwellings barely could comfortably fit one family. Thus, the Jews were forced to live together away from their homes. There was very little food provided to the Jews. To supplement the food Jews, disguised as gentile Poles, smuggled food in at the very real possibility of death if caught. The schools were shut down and education of children was banned. Small groups were formed in the Ghetto to teach Jewish children.
The able bodied men and women were forced to work for Nazis as slave laborers. The Jews would harvest crops, clean, dig ditches or provide their valuable skills to the Germans for free. Often times the Jewish males would return to the ghetto physically abused. The Jewish females were often sexually harassed and abused by the Nazis.
No soap was provided to Jews, so the Jews manufactured their own in the Ghetto. A Judenrat, Jewish council, was established to control the Ghetto. Unlike other towns where there was a criminal Jewish element that was used as policemen of the Ghetto, the Jews of Radziejow were either all related or close friends, so the Judenrat did its best to make life bearable.
My family was forcibly moved into the Ghetto. The store and house was sealed by the Nazis. In order to survive, the Neuman's returned to the house a few times to dig up leather that was buried in the basement of the building. That leather was used to barter with the farmers for food.
The Jews were constantly harassed by the Nazis. The Nazis would make surprise raids looking for any young people to be placed on work crews. If the household had none then the Nazis would not leave before causing some physical abuse or relieve the Jews of some of their property.
As bad as life was in the Jewish Ghetto it was mild to their future that took place in April of the following year!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Chelmo Memorial

The Jews of Radziejow were taken by gas vans to this very place. The exhaust pipes for the truck was connected to that part of the trucks where the Jews were packed in. Upon arrival to the forest next to Kolo and Chelmo the dead gassed Jews were either cremated or directly buried. My relatives are part of the earth here. Instead of being buried in the Radziejow cemetery like a normal citizen.